Archive for November, 2010

Rickshaw ride

Like most people, I am a lazy bum who whines at times about wanting more out of life and things not being fair and so on. I then watch a depressing world war film, a book or something on the TV which makes me feel content and happy with what I presently have. The only problem is that this quasi state of contentment achieved by viewing some inspirational bullshit lasts for a very limited duration.  A handful of hours, or a day at most.

I was part of an interesting event/encounter sometime back which made me feel totally content for a whole week, and I thought it would be good to share. So here it goes:

I used to visit my grandparents during college. I used to get off at a metro station which was a couple of kilometers away from their house. Any Delhi-ite would know that the perfect means of transport for such small distances is the 3 wheeled rickshaw as shown below (copyrights of original owners reserved):

There is a massive line of rickshaws outside the metro station, the guy at the front of the line gets the turn to make money and he takes you where you want to go. Like any other day, I quickly climbed onto the rickshaw and told the driver my destination. There is a stretch on the way which had a little climb, it was so little that i had never noticed it before. This guy had to stop though. He got off and started to drag the rickshaw to get over the slope. He turned round for the first time to tell me that he was old and had to drag it over. this was the first time i saw his face. He was very old, I had never seen such an old face before. He had a long white dirty beard. It seemed to be way longer and older than those of Gandalf or Dumbledore. His irises had a milky way white to them, I could imagine him having a vision that we would have on a very foggy day. In short, he was very very old.

He climbed back up and started to peddle after the slope was over. I felt sick and embarrassed from inside that I was still sitting there and making him spend whatever little energy he has.  He turned round again and told me that he was 90 and “such is the destiny given to him by god”. I had nothing to say apart from a “uhuh”. I felt really lame.

We finally reached my grandparents place, he got out of the rickshaw and rested himself on the side pavement. He was so exhausted that he looked dead. No marathon race or gym exercise could make someone look so tired. I took out whatever change I had and gave it to him, around 30 bucks instead of the regular 15, he was quite happy and thanked me and then climbed back and went away. I felt crappy, went inside, had limca and switched the AC on.

After thinking about it for a while, the whole incident felt inspiring. I felt crappy again wondering why I was so content after making a 90 year old guy sweat his ass of in the summer heat. I didn’t see the old guy again, I asked the other rickshaw guys about him, they call him “bhudda baba”.

It was both a crappy and a good feeling. It really sucks that looking at the suffering of others makes you feel peaceful at times. But as I said before, I felt incredibly content for a week or so and then was back to my usual self. I wonder if there is some study which explains how your mind gets inspired and why the inspiration fades away so quickly.